For many people in the Region, Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana is the difference between remaining in their own homes and needing to relocate to a nursing facility or to spend more time in a hospital. The nutritious meal, welcoming visit, and safety check-up help these seniors cope with three threats of aging: hunger, isolation, and loss of independence. Research proves that when seniors have the right support, they improve quality of life, need fewer hospital stays, and live longer. And when the food they’re being served is delicious, eating becomes more enjoyable for them.
Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana serves a variety of community members, including those who face barriers to preparing healthy meals, including physical ability, living in a food desert, or being home-bound for a variety of reasons. The sociality of these visits is crucial to the person being served, and just as vital is the fact that the person is receiving proper nourishment. For instance, an elderly man who has recently lost his wife might not visit or talk to anyone throughout the day because he is feeling rudderless, and perhaps he doesn’t have the energy to cook for himself. Registered dietician Gina Isroff explained a delivery from Meals on Wheels ensures that the man not only gets the nutrients he needs but that he eats.
“[Meals on Wheels] helps guarantee people like this are eating,” Isroff said. “At a certain point, and for some people, meals don’t feel like a necessity any more, and we help make sure that they are feeding themselves, that they are receiving nourishment they need.”
Isroff is the registered dietician with Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana, assisting in the planning of meals and verifying that the meals are nutritionally balanced and contain the proper amounts of fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Isroff offers more than just her experience as a registered dietician.
“I offer my services as a registered dietician, but I help with whatever I can help with,” Isroff said. “I do something different every day, which I love. It’s a wonderful organization to be active in.”
Isroff stressed that Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana is more than just a placeholder for a meal a day. The food prepared is delicious, filling, and hearty.
“We use all fresh, real ingredients,” Isroff said. “The meat we use in our meals is actual meat, not an overly processed or supplementary form of meat. It’s easier for clients to stay healthy when they’re eating meals they actually want to eat.”
Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana even offers special modifications for clients with dietary restrictions or different requirements based on medical conditions. Twenty-two modifications exist for the four “main” meal plans in place, including modifications for pureed and mechanical soft diets.
“In another instance, for someone with a renal diet, we’ll prepare meals with less sodium-rich meats,” Isroff said. “Or if we’re delivering to someone who’s diabetic, we take those restrictions into account.”
Adequate nutrition is necessary for health, functionality, and the ability to maintain independence. Healthy eating can increase mental acuity, resistance to illness and disease, energy levels, immune system strength, recuperation speed, and the ability to manage chronic health problems. Meals on Wheels ensures that everyone has access to adequate nutrition, even when family support, mobility, and resources are lacking. Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana ensures that clients are eating tasty meals suited to their needs, nourishing them in both the body and soul.
To learn more about Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana or to become a volunteer, visit their website today.